The distinctive white bridle or collar that separates it from Sooty tern is generally easily visible in flight. Bahrain has one rather dubious record of Sooty Tern - Inexperience of the observers (of which it has to be said I was one but I was new to birding then) with Bridled terns and oiled up birds I now think, having seen similar since, were the cause of the misidentification.

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